August 18, 2004

Object lesson

Washington Post, Aug. 4 -- U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that efforts to assemble an international peacekeeping force to protect a future U.N. mission in Iraq have stalled, requiring U.S.-led forces to provide security for the foreseeable future.

Please please to protecting us, oh good good unilateralist cowboys...
The Bush administration has promoted the idea of a U.N. protection force as a way of broadening international support for the struggling Iraqi political transition, particularly among countries that are reluctant to serve alongside American troops in Iraq. But senior U.N. officials say the initiative is on the verge of collapse as Iraqi insurgents and militants have stepped up attacks against citizens from countries considering participation, according to senior U.N. officials.
Actually Bush promoted the idea as an object lesson in what a useless rotting beach-carcass the UN is.
Annan said months of negotiations with more than a half-dozen potential contributors to the U.N. force -- which would be distinct from the U.S.-led multinational army but serve under the overall command of a U.S. general -- have not produced any "firm offers." Pakistan, Ukraine, Nepal, Georgia and other countries that were asked to commit more than 3,000 troops needed to protect the United Nations have engaged Annan in protracted, inconclusive discussions, officials said.
This is called "diplomacy," Mr Kofi. It's purpose is to prevent action, especially if it might help the US. They learned it from you, and now they use it on you. Hey, why not ask the French?
Pakistani officials maintain that although they have not rejected Annan's request for troops, they have no immediate plans to go to Iraq. "Other countries are withdrawing troops so how can we send them?" Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a Pakistani spokesman, said to reporters in Lahore on Tuesday...
How indeed? Can't go against the crowd.
Murari Raj Sharma, Nepal's ambassador to the United Nations, said: "Our citizens in Iraq would be potential targets for abductions or hostage-taking. That is one of the considerations."
Raj, pal, I think the "citizens" requested are of the type called "soldiers." We have soldiers too. They don't get abducted because they carry things called "guns," and use them to kill anybody who looks at them cross-eyed. You might consider trying that out.
The setback for the United Nations comes as a Saudi Arabian proposal to send a separate Islamic peacekeeping force to Iraq received a cool response from Muslim governments that were approached to participate in it. The Saudis envision the deployment of thousands of Islamic troops, serving under a U.N. mandate, to help stabilize Iraq and potentially replace the U.S.-led force there. Annan said today that the initiative also calls for providing security for U.N. personnel.
Poor Kofi..."Islamic armies" They would have been just the ticket. Why, everyone respects their fighting skills and dependability. What a cruel disappointment!
But several countries that have been asked to serve in the force -- including Pakistan, Egypt and Malaysia -- said this week it is too dangerous to send troops. "It is better for us to wait for a while and to see how the situation is," Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
Don't call us Abdullah, We'll call you.
...Despite his concerns over security, Annan assured the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, and Britain's U.N. envoy, Emyr Jones Parry, in a closed-door meeting that he would send his special envoy, Asharf Qazi of Pakistan, and a small team to Baghdad before Iraq convenes a national conference Aug. 15 to decide on its political future. But he said he would have to "monitor" the security situation before deciding "whether we send in large numbers of staff or not."
"Monitor." That's a good word. Better than skulk, lurk, hang-back, shrink, evade, scamper...or that classic: "take French leave"

You know, either us or them is suffering from some sort of bizarre disconnect from reality. We're talking about soldiers here, guys who risk their lives, fight battles...even wars, to protect civilians and civilization. Soldiers, right? Killers. Maybe the definition's changed. .

(Thanks to Greyhawk)

Posted by John Weidner at August 18, 2004 9:06 PM
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